Bunting – love it or hate it, it does have it’s place in the game. Personally, I hate the bunt. Of course, I hate the bunt because of how managers use it, not how players tend to use it. If you can bunt for a hit, I’ve got no problem with it. When Billy Hamilton bunts, when Jose Peraza bunts – I’ve got no problem with it. When Eugenio Suarez bunts in the 4th inning to move a runner over, I want to slam a heavy door on my head.

For those of you who love the bunt, I imagine it’s because of the same reason that I like the bunt – when players who can execute a good bunt lay one down and get down the first base line, it’s an exciting play and for good bunters, it’s a very successful way to reach base. The batting average on bunts for good bunters is often .350+, so it can certainly be a very valuable weapon.

That brings up the question of who was the best bunter in the Cincinnati Reds farm system in 2016? Before jumping into the data it is worth noting that this is all based on the play-by-play data, so failed bunt attempts that went foul aren’t accounted for, and that certainly does factor into the question of who was the best – but in terms of who had the most success when the bunt did go fair, we can get some answers on that.

First, let’s take a look at who bunted the most often in 2016. I’ve included the Top 10 players – but have Mitch Piatnik split up into two players since he’s a switch hitter.

Player Bunt Total
Blake Trahan 25
Jonathan Reynoso 23
Carlos Triunfel 21
Jose Peraza 16
Carlos Rivero 16
T.J. Friedl 16
Zack Shields 12
Mitch Piatnik (LHH) 12
Juan Perez 11
Mitch Piatnik (RHH) 11
Shane Mardirosian 10

Not much of a surprise that all of the players on the list are faster players. Blake Trahan led the entire system with 25 total bunts. Both Jonathan Reynoso and Mitch Piatnik had 23 each and Carlos Triunfel had 21. No one else topped 16 bunts on the season.

With how few bunts are actually attempted by many players, let’s take a look at just how successful these players were as they are the guys who actually attempted to bunt regularly.

Player Bunt Hit Bunt Total Success Rate
Blake Trahan 10 25 40.0%
Jonathan Reynoso 12 23 52.2%
Carlos Triunfel 6 21 28.6%
Jose Peraza 5 16 31.3%
Carlos Rivero 5 16 31.3%
TJ Friedl 11 16 68.8%
Zack Shields 5 12 41.7%
Mitch Piatnik (LHH) 3 12 25.0%
Juan Perez 5 11 45.5%
Mitch Piatnik (RHH) 5 11 45.5%
Shane Mardirosian 5 10 50.0%

TJ Friedl hit .688 on bunt attempts with the Billings Mustangs this year. That’s incredible. His speed is near the top of the chart, and he’s a good bunter, so that certainly helps out. But the low level defenders of the Pioneer League probably helped out a little bit, too. No matter how you slice it though, he was very good at turning bunts into hits. Despite only playing in about a quarter of the full minor league season he had the second most bunt hits in the entire organization, trailing Jonathan Reynoso by just one bunt hit. Reynoso played in 112 games for Daytona.

Several players bunted less frequently, but were very successful when they did lay down a bunt. Let’s take a look at the guys who were very successful bunting when they did choose to lay it down.

Player Bunt Hit Bunt Total Success Rate
Michael Beltre (RHH) 1 1 100.0%
Taylor Trammell 5 6 83.3%
Brian O’Grady 6 9 66.7%
Phillip Ervin 2 3 66.7%
Michael Beltre (LHH) 4 7 57.1%

Taylor Trammell was very successful, turning five of his six bunts into hits for Billings. Brian O’Grady bunted nine times and turned those into hits six times. Michael Beltre was five for eight (63%) between both sides of the plate.

Of the 73 players who I looked at the play-by-play data for (125+ plate appearances in 2016 and played stateside + Alfredo Rodriguez) there were 13 players who didn’t attempt a bunt all season (or at least get one down in fair territory). Among that group, the only surprise is Alfredo Rodriguez, who is known to be a very fast player. Of course, Rodriguez didn’t play much, so that certainly could be part of the reason. The other players who didn’t lay down a bunt this year: Jesse Winker, Alex Blandino, Angelo Gumbs, Gavin LaValley, Scott Schebler, Montrell Marshall, John Sansone, Leandro Santana, Juan Duran, Colby Wright, Bruce Yari and Raul Wallace.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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